Tag Archives: guitar

Gibson Guitar Pays $350K Penalty to Feds for Wood Imports

After nearly three years of denying guilt, Gibson Guitar acknowledged Monday that it bought and imported ebony wood illegally from Madagascar in violation of a federal law protecting endangered species, and it will pay a $350,000 penalty.
From the Tennessean:
The case had sparked rallies and protests against federal authorities by Gibson Guitar supporters and led to efforts by Tennessee congressional leaders to tweak federal law so it doesn’t make criminals of musicians who own prized guitars that might contain components made with rare foreign woods.
“This is a watershed moment in the battle to stop illegal logging around the world,” said Alexander von Bismarck, executive director of the private Environmental Investigation Agency, who said he led the probe of Gibson’s ebony purchases in Madagascar and turned over findings to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
“It was our private investigation, and we handed it to the authorities,” von Bismarck said. “We published two reports of the investigation and named the key timber barons in Madagascar and their trading partners, and tracked the wood wherever it went. In the United States, it went primarily to Gibson.”

Miscellaneous TN News Notes

More on ‘Business Impact’ Fiscal Notes
A proposal to give lawmakers more information about how their decisions will affect businesses is being greeted with enthusiasm, but there also are significant questions about how to carry the idea off, opponents and supporters say. So reports Chas Sisk.
Business groups are backing a plan to add a statement of the effect bills will have on business to each piece of legislation filed in Tennessee. The statements would help lawmakers head off costly rules and regulations, supporters say. But some say the move could backfire by making lawmakers more beholden to the opinions of lobbyists and staff members who have been criticized in the past for having too much sway over the legislature
(Previous post HERE)
Fleischmann Fundraising
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann raised more than $135,000 during the last three months, a figure that could be eclipsed by a single upcoming fundraiser, his staff told the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
The Republican freshman from Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District finished the July 1-Sept. 30 fundraising quarter with $350,000 on hand for his 2012 re-election bid.
“People are showing obvious support for Chuck’s voting record,” said Jordan Powell, a spokesman for the congressman. Fleischmann plans to boost his bottom line with an Oct. 27 Chattanooga fundraiser featuring House Speaker John Boehner, the face of conservative power in Washington.
Out of 769 total votes, Fleischmann has voted with House leadership 94 percent of the time, according to records maintained by the Washington Post.

Tea Party’s Guitar Gathering
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The head of Tennessee-based Gibson Guitar said Saturday that he strongly backs conservation as well as federal enforcement of laws meant to protect the tropical hardwoods that his company uses for instruments.
The comments by Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz follow an August raid by federal agents of Gibson factories in Nashville and Memphis. More than 10,000 fingerboards made from imported Indian rosewood were seized.
Juszkiewicz has said the company faces allegations of using wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers — a potential violation of the Lacey Act.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday at a tea party sponsored “We stand with Gibson” rally in Nashville, Juszkiewicz said he supports the intent of the act, but he called the requirement for Indian workers to finish the wood a “misuse of environmental law.”
“This is not about conservation or illegal logging, to my knowledge,” he said.
Federal prosecutors have filed court papers confirming a criminal investigation. But no charges have been filed, and specifics of the investigation by the Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department are under seal.
Knoxville Occupied
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Occupy Wall Street movement has made its presence known in Knoxville.
On Friday evening, at least 200 East Tennesseans gathered to raise awareness of the gap that exists between the rich and poor, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/oZyPbM).
Occupy Knoxville supporters gathered in a park, chanting phrases like “people over profits.” Then they led a candlelight solidarity march around downtown.
Sevierville’s Betsey Rochelle was one of the organizers. She said she heard about Occupy Knoxville on Facebook and came up with the idea for the march.
Rochelle said ordinary people need a voice in government and she believes it is time to get corporate money out of politics.